Moving To Opportunity was a national program that paid to relocate underserved inner-city families with at risk teens to more affluent suburban areas. Studies show that this program reduced delinquency in youth who were transplanted from the inner city to the suburbs. Explain whether social learning theory and general strain theory would each expect this program to be successful. Explain why or why not. Include an explanation of each theory in your answer.Cultural Deviance Theories
Cohen, Miller, Sykes & Matza, Akers

Sykes & Matza’s
Techniques of Neutralization

Neutralizing criminal behavior allows them to engage in “subcultural drift”
Denial of Responsibility: “It wasn’t my fault”
Denial of Injury: “They could afford it”
Denial of Victim: “They had it coming”
Condemning the Condemners: “You’ve done worse”
Appeal to Higher Loyalties: “My friend needed me”

Subcultural Tradition
Cohen’s Middle Class Measuring Rod
3 Role Adjustments
College Boy
Rare, make it on own
Corner Boy
Graduate, blue collar
Delinquent Boy
Reject MC values, gang
Miller’s Focal Concern
Lower class focal concerns:

Principles of Differential Association (Sutherland)
Criminal behavior is learned in interaction with other people in a process of communication
The learning of criminal behavior occurs within intimate personal groups (not everyone in social environment will exert the same influence)
The learning process includes the techniques of committing the crime, and the specific direction of motives, drives, rationalizations, and attitudes
The specific direction of motives and drives is learned from definitions of legal codes as favorable and unfavorable
A person becomes delinquent because of an excess of definitions favorable to violation of law. Differential association may vary in frequency, duration, priority, and intensity
The process of learning criminal behavior incorporates all the mechanisms that are involved in any other learning
Although criminal behavior is an expression of general needs and values, it is not explained by those needs and values because noncriminal behavior is an expression of the same needs and values

Social Learning Theory

Social Structure

Social Learning


Differential Association


Differential Reinforcement

What crimes would SLT be good at explaining? Not good?

Why is crime reinforcing? Why does it continue after people get caught?

image1.jpegMerton’s Modes of Adaptation

General Strain Theory


Failure to Achieve Goal

Presentation of Noxious Stimulus

Negative Affect



Coping Strategies



Loss of Positive Stimulus





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